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There is a huge and growing concern regarding obesity amongst children in today’s society. It is a widely discussed topic in the United States. Obesity is considered to be one of the most dangerous health issues facing our children. Today childhood obesity is in issue because of the staggering proportions that this disease has reached in the past few years. Certain genetic factors paired with changing lifestyles and culture has produced kids (and adults) who generally not as healthy as people were a few decades ago. The target audiences of my paper are the parents of children between the ages of two years old through nineteen years of age. According, to the textbook obesity is defined based on measurement of children’s heights and weights growth chart (Sorte, 2011 Pg.74). The number of children who are obese has been increasing at a rapid speed (Sorte, 2011 Pg.15). The number of overweight rate among preschool children has increased from 5% in 1980 to 12.4% in 2006, reaching 31.9% in 2008 among children ages 2 to 9 years (Sorte, 2011 Pg.15). The center for Disease control website states that childhood obesity has both immediate and long term effects on health and well-being. However, understanding that being overweight refers to a person with a body mass that is high compared to others his same height and technically has nothing to do with an individual’s amount of body fat. Obesity is one of the main reasons of death. Detecting obesity is easy, but treating it can be very hard to do. In some ways this could be called the plague of twenty-first century due to so many fast food places. Some factors are irresponsibility of the consumer, prenatal influence, and easy access to fast food. Among American children ages 2-19 using the 95th percentile or higher of body mass index are obese (heart.org). Obesity is causing health problems that weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. This can be part of psychological effects: Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image, and depression (heart.org). Understanding how children become obese in the first place is an important step toward breaking the cycle. We know that early intervention is the surest way to alter unhealthy behaviors before they become entrenched habits (Naomi Neufeld, K.D shape 2004, Pg. 20). In most cases childhood obesity are caused by eating too much and exercising too little we know that kids need to be taught what those unhealthy behaviors are and how to change them. Children need enough food to support healthy growth and development. However, when they take in more calories than they burn throughout the day, the end result is weight gain. What can be done is lead by healthy examples (helpguide.org). Whether or not you are overweight learn to eat in a healthy way. Be a good role model by modeling good behaviors with respect to eating, television viewing and physical activity. Children do learn from what they observe. Make it a priority to have meals together when possible. Children tend to eat healthier meals. Teach to your children about healthy nutrition and healthy food choices. Limit the amount of television. Television is a passive activity that encourages sedentary behavior that leads to weight gain (eatright.org). General physical activity is a plus when trying to maintain a healthy body weight. Teach your children different games, such as tag, football, jump rope or Basketball. Keep in mind that the effect of sports participation and general physical activity on obesity maybe different on kids. Encourage your child to find a sport activity they enjoy. Like some adults children use food as a coping mechanism for dealing with problems that’s why keeping them involved in activity helps them. Schools are often a good source of help as well. The task a teacher may have is helping children lose weight or teaching them about nutrition. That’s why schools have recess and physical education. Having these type of activity one before and the other help children stay active. Prevention of childhood obesity can be obtained through only a few steps. However, these steps must be followed in order to maintain a healthy life. First step is to a healthy diet, it is important in the process of preventing childhood obesity. Secondly, avoid using food as a reward of punishment. The food Guide Pyramid is an important tool when balancing a healthy diet; it shows an appropriate number of servings of each food category that should be consumed each day. It is important for children to know the Pyramid in order to realize the importance of a healthy diet. What we must keep in mind is that today’s actions towards our children will affect their future. We must unite to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the well-being of our children. What we teach and show our children today will make better men and women in the future. There is no one thing that anyone can do to prevent children and teenagers from becoming overweight, but together we can make a big difference.
Neufeld, Naomi, MD, Face (2004) Kid Shape: a practical for raising healthy, fit children
Sorte, J. Daeschel, I. & Amador, C. (2014) Nutrition, health and safety for young children: Promoting wellness. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson www.eatright.org www.cdc.gov/healthy youth/ obesity/facts.htm www.heart.org/heartorg/getting healthy/healthy kids/childhood obesity/overweight-in-children-ucm-304054-Article